News / Africa

Rights Group Calls on South Sudan to Stop Harassing Journalists

The Committee to Protect Journalists says at least 10 journalists "and probably many more" have been harassed since South Sudan plunged into conflict eight months ago.
The Committee to Protect Journalists says at least 10 journalists "and probably many more" have been harassed since South Sudan plunged into conflict eight months ago.
Lucy PoniMugume Davis Rwakaringi

International media rights organization the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has called on the authorities in South Sudan to ensure the safety of freelance journalist Abraham Agoth and others who have been harassed for their reporting during eight months of conflict in the country.

Agoth became concerned for his safety and went into hiding last month, CPJ East Africa Representative Tom Rhodes said, adding that his case is not isolated.

“Since this conflict began, I believe we have come across at least 10 cases -- and there are probably many more -- where journalists are harassed or threatened with arrest for their reporting," Rhodes said.

"It goes along with this notion that some of the authorities want journalists not to cover the conflict or at least cover only their side of the conflict," he said.

Agoth's problems began in early July when he was called to the office of Northern Bahr el Ghazal caretaker governor Kuel Aguer Kuel and questioned about his reporting of protests by shop owners in Aweil, who said the police were not doing enough to protect them from burglars. 

Officials were also reportedly upset at Agoth’s reporting on security issues in the state, and he was warned not to report on attacks by rebels in the state.

That warning echoed what Information Minister Michael Makuei told South Sudan in Focus earlier this year -- that broadcasting or publishing interviews with rebel leaders inside South Sudan was "subversive activity" and could put the journalist on the wrong side of the law.

Journalists self-censor

Rhodes said the authorities' stance is leading journalists in South Sudan to self-censor their work at a time when the country needs accurate reporting.

"Maybe the biggest problem, the most pervasive problem journalists are facing now is the steady flow of intimidation, whether by the authorities or the rebel movement, to go silent, to self censor," he said.

"That is a very worrying trend for us, particularly at this time when South Sudanese citizens really need to know what is going on,” Rhodes said.

While there is a need for balanced and professional reporting, and officials are justifiably concerned with media reports that incite panic or violence, there is no reason for government officials to crack down on journalists during times of conflict.

Presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny insisted that the conditions under which journalists work in South Sudan are not as bad as are being reported.

“I see South Sudan as one of the countries that allow freedom of expression... in the sense that even some journalists can contact the rebels and play the response of rebels inside South Sudan,” he said.

Ateny denied that tthe government has a policy of cracking down on the media but admitted that some journalists may have been harassed.

But he said any instances of harassment of journalists were "isolated" and could have happened "anywhere in the world."

Agoth reports for South Sudan in Focus, for the Gurtong Trust and independent newspaper, The Patriot.

Mugume Davis Rwakaringi reported from Juba.

 

You May Like

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: uria guya from: juba
August 07, 2014 4:29 PM
The journalist must report responsible,

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid